Of course, business and accounting classes are far from the only high school courses that matter. It’s important that you complete high school studies at the college preparatory level in a wide range of subjects, especially math. Many Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree programs require students to complete at least foundational courses in algebra and pre-calculus, if not more advanced studies in algebra and calculus. Taking these courses at the high school level can help you become familiar with the topics you will need to know as a college student. If you choose an advanced placement (AP) high school class in subjects like these, you may even have the opportunity to test out of the college equivalent of the course, saving yourself time and money. Computer skills and communication skills are also valuable for prospective accountants, so be sure to work hard in your English and computer courses, as well.
You might be surprised at how much of this preparation can, and should, be done while you’re still in high school. Summer break during your high school education is the perfect time to visit top business schools, some accounting schools offer high school summer programs that equip students with new skills and allow them to discover what the college experience is really like. You don’t have to wait until you’re a full-fledged accountant to start networking. Whether you’re looking for your first internship opportunity or simply wondering what life as an accountant is like, connecting with others who are studying or working in accounting can help you prepare for your own career path.
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John recommends the following next steps:
I also think that it's important to use learn how to use the tools and facilities of your high school, like your guidance counsellor to help you with these decisions and help you find placement with internships or even at a university. This will also give you experience with how to use these same resources when you get to your university. It's never too early to start building your network. You will want to be able to use your network for referrals and references for many years to come.
I taught professional programs for 20 years in the financial services industry. I have many prior students still ask me for guidance and use me as a referral sometimes. I am always happy to hear from them and help out when I can.
I am impressed with you focus and excellent question. Good luck in your search. I'm confident of your continued success.
Matthew recommends the following next steps:
I hope this helps!
I'd also see if your high school has any business clubs/organizations, such as Future Business Leaders of America. Joining the speech/debate team would also be a great way to develop public speaking skills that will benefit you in college and in the professional world. If you're in a volunteer club or other extracurriculars, consider running for a leadership position.
My last piece of advice, which may seem contrary, is to not limit yourself by focusing too much on one . I think accounting is a great career and I think it's awesome that you're being proactive about your career goals. And it's definitely a good idea to start learning more about the industry/field and developing skills that will help you achieve those career goals. But I also think it's important keep an open mind and explore new options. Lots of people go into college with a plan and end up leaving on a completely different path. There's so many careers out there that you've probably never even heard of.
Lauren Grzyboski, CFE, CAMS, MBA
Great question! Prior to college, I would recommend researching careers in accounting because there are so many ways you can use a degree in accounting. For example, there's the public vs. private sector; different fields such as tax, advisory, or auditing; not to mention specializing in the accounting field such as a career in forensics. If you obtain that knowledge earlier on it will help when it comes time to pick your accounting courses in college. When I attended college, I majored in accounting but also minored in criminal justice and political science in order to tailor my studies towards a forensics career path. If your high school offers accounting or business classes consider taking those to gain some foundational knowledge before taking classes at a higher level in college. Additionally, consider creating a LinkedIn profile to connect with accounting professionals, it's always great to start networking early. There are also professional organizations that you could get involved in which offer student memberships. Those organizations can provide a better insight into the accounting field and also offer ways to advance your knowledge and/or skillset in the field whether that be through webinars, learning courses, etc.
I was able to take Intro to Accounting, Business and Career Development classes in high school, which served me well as I was going into college for Accounting and Finance. See if your high school offers financial classes (personal or business) as electives. Also, you could watch basic Intro to Accounting videos on YouTube and do a google search to find free or low cost intro to accounting and finance classes. You might be able to find classes on Udemy as well.
Kristina recommends the following next steps: